Bulgaria's Electoral Commission Initiates Personal Data Abuse Probe
Bulgaria's Central Electoral Commission (CEC) has vowed to refer personal data abuse tip-offs to the Commission for Personal Data Protection and the prosecuting authority.
In a Wednesday interview for private TV station bTV, CEC Spokesperson Kamelia Neykova explained that the competent authorities would examine the matter and decide whether there had been violations in the collection of signatures in support of political parties for the European Parliament elections on May 25.
Neykova commented that the allegations of massive abuse were exaggerated and explained that all parties had presented petitions backed by more than 2500 signatures, as required by law.
She refuted accusations that the principle of secret ballot had been violated through the possibility for checking electoral register entries online, adding that the inquiries were similar to those made via the website of the National Revenue Agency (NRA). She emphasized that the CEC was under obligation to allow citizens to see which petitions included their names.
Neykova's comments came in response to the claims of the Access to Information Program Foundation that the new online inquiry options on the website of the CEC encouraged unfair practices by allowing employers to see which candidate their employees supported.
She suggested that the requirements for the collection of signatures under petitions for elections could be changed, for instance by asking citizens to show their ID cards upon signing.
The CEC Spokesperson informed that the petitions backing independent candidates were to be checked after April 20.
At the beginning of the week, the petition backing the People's Voice party of rock musician Svetoslav Vitkov was said to be containing unaccounted-for entries, including scores of members of the Sofia Philharmonic.
Vitkov, as cited by mediapool.bg, attributed the findings to abuse of personal data, stressing that he was not to be held accountable for that.
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